FAIR OAKS — The DeMotte Chamber of Commerce held its annual awards dinner Thursday night at the Farmhouse Restaurant at Fair Oaks Farms with outgoing Chamber President Rosemary Weeks announcing the new executive officers for the next term. Derek Stengenga of DSB Wealth Management as incoming president, Terri Conley of NISPCO – vice president, Treasurer Jenny Jonkman of Donis CPA, and Linda White of McColly Real Estate – secretary. Carla Jarrette, a board member on and off for 10 years is leaving the board with Melissa of Merchant’s State Bank as her replacement.
Lifetime Achievement awards were given to longtime DeMotte residents Pat Kopanda and Norm Chappelle, both of whom have been volunteers and civic leaders for the town. Chappelle is a charter member of the DeMotte Historical Society. Kopanda worked for the chamber for 10 years, and initiated chamber luncheons and the annual event they celebrated that night. She was responsible for starting the fund raising to purchase the historical Fairchild House from NITCO, and making it a vital part of the community. Both continue to be a vital part of the town as they volunteer their time for projects.
The Business of the Year award went to McColly Real Estate, which also received recognition for 45 years in business.
A special Community Contribution award was given to Jasper County REMC for its role in new solar array farm that will provide energy to county residents. Stephanie Johnson was on hand to accept the award for the electric cooperative.
Also awarded were businesses that have improved or expanded. Dr. Mark Dobson’s office was awarded for their new location. Another Season and DeBoer Family Eye Care expanded their space, becoming nextdoor neighbors in the Hillside Plaza.
The KV Women’s Club, which will fold after over 40 years giving to the community, was awarded the Non-profit of the Year award.
Receiving awards for celebrating a milestone in years of business were DSB Wealth Management for 20 years, Oak Grove Christian Retirement Village for 20 years, Hollandale Builders for 50 years, and CI Insurance for 65 years.
Sharon Colee, who served as this year’s Grand Marshal in the Touch of Dutch Parade was also recognized, but was unable to attend.
In 2019, 12 new businesses joined the chamber and five businesses closed their doors. New business owners, Kaelyn Fischer and Alisa Sutton of Kali Apparel, were the emcees for the night.
The new executive director, Tara Hernandez lead her first dinner, and Diva Rish, who was the executive director for nearly 10 years was given a fond farewell by the chamber and the business members.